• 5 year plant guarantee
  • Trust Pilot
  • Sign up for Newsletter

Our Heritage

The rich tapestry of the Horkan family story begins way back in the late 1800s when one Peter Alexander Horkan (better known as P.A. Horkan), moved to Castlebar founding what was to become a family dynasty. He established a small plumbing service business, marking the family's first steps in the retail sector.

One of P.A. Horkan's five sons, Paddy, was born on the cusp of the century, as the stiff Victorian era gave way to the more open and spirited Edwardian reign. Paddy and his wife Sarah were the inspiration behind Horkan's move towards the gardening business. Sarah's family, the Hursts, were also in the retail business and she and Paddy began running a grocery store on Spencer Street in the centre of the town, on a site still owned and operated by the Horkan family. Like Paddy, Sarah had green fingers and loved growing deliciously scented old-fashioned flowers, selling surplus plants in the shop. Sweet Pea, Stock, Astors and Antirrhinums (the much loved Snapdragon) were firm favourites.

Always ambitious, Paddy and Sarah acquired extra land from the Convent and that's where the horticultural end of things really got going. Paddy used his engineering skills to set up a well laid out and productive garden including a large heated glasshouse. There they grew everything from luscious tomatoes to velvety peaches, all sold in the little shop that soon needed expansion. Paddy and Sarah took another brave business step in 1950, adding an ice cream parlour and coffee shop to their thriving emporium.

The next generation saw Séan Horkan take over the reins in the 1950’s and along with his wife, Mary Heneghan, he expanded the shop yet again.  Their children cut their teeth in the retail trade while growing up, working through the school holidays and after school to help the business though the 70’s and 80’s. The grocery side of things was still going strong, selling everything from tinned goods to hundredweight bags of flour and flakemeal. The gardening side began expanding in earnest when a few good contacts led to an excellent supply of bare rooted shrubs which were much in demand. Soon, plants and flowers were being delivered regularly from all over the country and Horkans was becoming known as a good place to buy quality plants and friendly advice on how to make them grow.

In the 1990’s Séan’s children, Paraic, John and Thomás, with backgrounds in horticulture, business and engineering, took over the business from their father and transformed it into one of Ireland’s top garden centres. In 1993 the centre was awarded the accolade of Best Garden Centre in Ireland by an Bord Glas. In time, as the business grew, they were joined by other family members Mairéad, Michéal and Peter.

Horkans has moved on a little from Paddy and Séan’s day. The administrative HQ is still in Spencer Street, but the 5* Horkans Garden and Lifestyle Centre is now in a 10-acre site in Turlough, five miles from Castlebar. In the past decade six stores have been opened countrywide: in Dublin, the Glen of the Downs (Co. Wicklow), Castlebar (Co. Mayo), Westport (Co. Mayo), Galway and Sligo.

From a small family business Horkans has expanded its work force to over 150 people. The same family values and culture has remained with the growth of the business and everyone working at Horkans is considered to be part of the larger Horkans family.

The scope of the stores has changed too, with much more emphasis on lifestyle - everything from garden furniture and gifts to clothing and kitchenware as well as top class plants and horticultural products. One thing that hasn't changed though, is the love the Horkan family and their enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff have for what they do; their passion for gardening and gardens and their determination to give the very best service and advice to all their customers.

Through three generations, the Horkan family has grown up with the gardening business and they are rightly proud of their Heritage in the industry. The business is 100% family owned, is now operating in eight counties and is serving the rest of Ireland via the web.

Sign Up